GIMP FAQ – General Information

  1. Is GIMP a GNOME application?
  2. Is GTK+ still under the aegis of GIMP? Was it ever?
  3. Are there any Easter eggs in GIMP?
  4. Is XInput support available?
  5. Does GIMP support art tablets like the Wacom?
  6. Does GIMP have scanner support?
  7. Can GIMP install its own colormap?
  8. GIMP complains about MIT-SHM!
  9. What does “wire_read: unexpected EOF” mean?
  10. Do I need an X server to run in batch mode?
  11. What kind of system do I need to run GIMP?
  12. Is there a bug list somewhere?
  13. Does/could GIMP use high-level graphics operations for its operations?

 

Is GIMP a GNOME application?

Not really. It doesn’t use the GNOME application framework. The only thing it has in common is GTK+. GIMP can optionally use gnome-vfs, allowing you to load and edit images from remote servers.

Is GTK+ still under the aegis of GIMP? Was it ever?

GTK was developed solely for GIMP, initially. Towards the end of the 0.99 development cycle in 1998, GTK was split from being bundled with GIMP to being a separately available library. See ancient history for some interesting tidbits from the GIMP perspective.

Are there any Easter eggs in GIMP?

Yes.

Is XInput support available?

Yes.

Does GIMP support art tablets like the Wacom?

In the more recent releases of most distros, installing the wacom-tools package should make tablet support “just work”. Make sure that you enable the input devices in GIMP, too.

Otherwise, you have to do a little extra work to compile it in.

See Intuos on Linux by Terry Mackintosh, or this quick overview from Juergen Schlag:

  1. run GNU/Linux with a X11 server which supports the Xinput-Section (my old S3-Board running under the XFree-Server works well, but the XSuSE- Server for PERMEDIA2-Boards doesn’t work 🙁
  2. install the Xinput driver for the Artpad (see the docs). I used a patched driver for the PenPartner
  3. edit the Xinput-Section of your /etc/XF86Config to load the driver when X11 starts (see the man-pages for XF86Config and your X-server)
  4. recompile the GTK toolkit with the Xinput-support enabled. see the README and INSTALL file for the command switch to do this.
  5. restart your computer, start X11 and GIMP. if no error message occured your artpad should work well

Does GIMP have scanner support?

Yes. It’s available on Windows and uses TWAIN, and on GNU/Linux you even have a choice between XSane and gnome-scan — both can be used as GIMP plug-ins.

Can GIMP install its own colormap?

Yes. In either the system-wide gimprc file or your personal gimprc file, uncomment the line that includes install-colormap.

GIMP complains about MIT-SHM!

If GIMP gives you a message similar to either of these when you try to start it: Xlib: extension “MIT-SHM” missing on display “198.51.29.58:0.0”. or * WARNING **: XShmAttach failed! then you need to run it with the –no-xshm option.

This happens for one of two reasons. Either your X display server does not have the shared memory option, or you are running GIMP on a different system than the one on which it is displaying. In the former case, you may wish to look into different X servers, because shared memory can give you MUCH better performance. In the latter case, you will just have to live with it, since different systems can’t generally share the same memory space.

What does “wire_read: unexpected EOF” mean?

This error message should say something like “the plug-in (or the main GIMP app) I was talking to has exited before returning any results, so I assume that it has crashed.”

Do I need an X server to run in batch mode?

Yes, you have to have some form of X server (unless you’re running Windows, of course). It needs an X server for image processing, and for font manipulation. However, if you wish to run in batch mode, you can run with a special, frame-buffer-less X server called Xvfb, which doesn’t require a graphics card or mess with your screen:

Xvfb :1 -screen 0 10x10x8 -pixdepths 1 & gimp –display :1.0 –no-interface –batch “commands” … &

The first command starts the special X server; the second is an example of how to invoke GIMP in batch mode. When you are done using GIMP this way for a while, kill off Xvfb so it doesn’t waste system resources. If you expect to use GIMP this way a lot, you might want to leave Xvfb running for better response time.

You should check the man page for Xvfb(1) for other options, such as whether to use shared memory.

What kind of system do I need to run GIMP?

Any system capable of running Gnome 2, KDE 3.2, Windows 2000, Mac OS X and later versions should be able to run GIMP. GIMP’s biggest appetite is for memory and how much you will need will depend on the how many images you are working with, their resolution, size, the number of layers you use and so on. As a general rule, more is better, but 128MB should be enough to be getting started with.

Is there a bug list somewhere?

See Bugs for a list of bugs and how to report them.

Does/could GIMP use high-level graphics operations for its operations?

Not yet. GIMP does use MMX and SSE low-level instructions. The guess is that any gain from higher-level instructions would end up being swamped by having to push pixels back and forth to the graphics card, but we would love to be proved wrong